- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (8 September 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780060754020
- ISBN-13: 978-0060754020
- ASIN: 0060754028
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.5 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,70,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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John Lennon: The Life Paperback – 8 Sep 2009
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“[A] haunting, mammoth, terrific piece of work.” (New York Times Book Review)
“It’s this level of detail that makes Norman’s 822 pages such compulsive reading.” (Bloomberg News)
“[Norman] sharpens what we know about Lennon at just about every turn…devotees will relish the new information, while casual readers will find a familiar story told more truly than ever before.” (Rolling Stone)
“[Norman’s] definitive biography draws impressively on exclusive and extensive interviews with Yoko Ono and, for the first time on the record, their son Sean…densely detailed, intricately woven and elegantly told, John Lennon: The Life neither condemns nor condones, nor does it consecrate its subject. (USA Today)
“The bad news is that John Lennon: The Life is so rich and enveloping that it demands to be read…it’s a clear-eyed and compassionate study of a man...Grade: A-.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Powerful and heartfelt.” (Washington Post Book World)
From the Back Cover
For more than a quarter century, Philip Norman's internationally bestselling Shout! has been unchallenged as the definitive biography of the Beatles. Now, at last, Norman turns his formidable talent to the Beatle for whom belonging to the world's most beloved pop group was never enough. Drawing on pre-viously untapped sources, and with unprecedented access to all the major characters, here is the comprehensive and most revealing portrait of John Lennon that is ever likely to be published.
This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at every aspect of Lennon's much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into a near–secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extra-ordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore—his upbringing by his strict Aunt Mimi; his allegedly wasted school and student days; the evolution of his peerless creative partnership with Paul McCartney; his Beatle-busting love affair with a Japanese performance artist; his forays into painting and literature; his experiments with Transcendental Meditation, primal scream therapy, and drugs. The book's numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon—whose moving reminiscence reveals his father as never before—and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John.
Honest and unflinching, as John himself would wish, Norman gives us the whole man in all his endless contradictions—tough and cynical, hilariously funny but also naive, vulnerable and insecure—and reveals how the mother who gave him away as a toddler haunted his mind and his music for the rest of his days.See all Product description
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Then why giving only three stars?
Well, Philip Norman, the author, is famous for diminishing the role of Paul McCartney in the Beatles. He said that John was three quarters of the Beatles - which is very unfair to Paul, George and Ringo. Throughout the book he puts plenty of quite derrogatory remartks to Paul that are totally uncalled for. He has also included quite a few gossip remarks. One example is suggesting that Stu Sutcliff's death could have been caused by a fight with John.That is based on a remark from a Stu's relative, years after his death, which is not confirmed by Paul, Astrid, or any of the other guys. It is there just to include a polemic topic.
Throughout the book he keeps suggesting a homo affective relation between John and Stu, that do not resonate with any of John's, Paul's, Astrid or anybody else's accounts.
He does not provide much detail or comments on the music either. One particularly silly comment, describing Abbey Road, is saying that Oh! Darling is a particularly unmemorable song (once again to downplay Paul). Well the proof that he is wrong is someone who was born after The Beatles disbanded (me) still be hearing and enjoying that very song, right? It is memorable that long afterwards.
At this point you're probably asking why I am still giving it three stars, right? There is some good reasons for that. The author does a good job in portraying a scenario of all John's life phases and what was happening in England and in the world. He provides lots of details and facts.
My criticism is that you need to take everything with a grain of salt. Don't have this book as your only source of information. Read other stuff from John and about him, to have a more balanced view.
And don't listen to the author when he writes about Paul. Too much unjustified bickering. John was certainly my favourite Beatle, but I believe that the true power of The Beatles was that those FOUR guys challenged themselves to put out the world's best music ever. So many years passed and I still listen to them constantly.
Read the book, but beware of the author bias.
And I suppose the big question is still; Who broke up the Beatles? Clearly the death of Brian Epstein was a factor but it also seems clear John was determined to leave and used Yoko as a wedge to make that happen. it was just never going to work having her in the studio and the idea of her providing input on the music made it worse. a damn shame but they left behind a treasure trove. John's death is still one of the seminal moments in my life. We know from Double Fantasy that there was much more to come.